Monday, April 16, 2007

Opening weekend of the Irish Baseball League Season

It is amazing how diverse the Irish League has become in terms of the number of varied nationalities that play every weekend in the home of Irish baseball, Corcaigh Park. The Hurricanes and Spartan A and B games that took place Sunday are a case in point. The two teams consisted of players from Ireland, the USA, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Romania, Italy, Cuba and Venezuela. The Irish league is really becoming a colourful little collection of nationalities, cultures and indeed interpretations of the game that is baseball. It is extremely enjoyable playing the game amongst that vibrant collection of people, and who would have though that it would be baseball that would bring that diverse a collection of nationalities and people together in, of all places, Ireland.

Anyway, I digress! Back to the business at hang. The Irish Baseball season started in earnest this weekend past with a full program of games played. The early success story were the Belfast Northstars who took both games of a double header against the Twins, meaning they are the early pace setters. The Northstars have been around for a long time and have as yet to win the league so it's nice to see them set the early pace.

The Blacksox beat the Greystones Mariners with Eoin O'Connor getting the win. Eoin is a completely self taught pitcher who has really blossomed into a solid starter. It's amazing to think he is only 24 and if he keeps his good start up and turns it into a good season he may be in line to become the only Irish born pitcher with two 'Tommy Bond - Best pitcher' awards in Irish league history to date.

Hurricanes v Spartans ('A' Level)

Meanwhile my Dublin Hurricanes took on the Spartans at A and B level The Spartans and Hurricanes have, between them, won the last five Irish League Championships consecutively.
  • 2006 - League Champions Spartans
  • 2005 - League Champions Hurricanes
  • 2004 - League Champions Spartans
  • 2003 - League Champions Hurricanes
  • 2002 - League Champions Spartans
Looks like the Hurricanes have their work cut out for them in order to keep that 'your turn, our turn' thing going for another year. The two teams met in their season opener and the Spartans ran out winners behind a strong performance from their Romanian starter 'Andrei'. He kept the Hurricanes off balance all day and managed to strike out a whopping twelve Canes featuring a fastball, curve and wicked slider. The Hurricanes scored one in the first and loaded the bases but Andrei wiggled out of the jam and that was it for the Hurricanes in terms of runs scored.

Meanwhile the Spartans scored four in the first and that was all they needed. The game tightened up after that, featuring some nice plays by both sides, including a couple of great catches by Woody Woodburn in left field for the Hurricanes. Personally, I have to hold my hand up and take the blame for this one. My 'Canes gave me a one run lead that I couldn't protect. The big problem was putting the Spartans batters away. I had a ridiculous seven batters on two strikes that I wasn't able to put away. Several times this came back to hurt us. Darran O'Connor in particular managed to get a piece of a fastball and flip it just over second base scoring two runs with some nice two strike hitting. It's tremendously disappointing to look forward to a game all week and then preform so poorly however I know I can do better and I know the Hurricanes, particularly with Steve Divito and Chris Foy back, are going to score a bunch of runs this season.

I guess we can take it as a wake up call, to kick start our season with.

There was, apart from the beautiful weather, plenty to take from the game. Tommy Hernandez and Woody made their debuts for the Hurricanes, both Irish National Team players, they will obviously bring allot to the Hurricanes in '07. Alex, their big Venezuelan former team mate from the Twins also brings plenty to the table. With fourteen games left to sort ourselves out and click into gear the season is only getting started. Nevertheless next Saturday's game against the Greystones Mariners is suddenly a huge game as both sides will want to avoid starting the season 0-2 and putting themselves in a big hole in regards making the playoffs.


Team
Played
Won
Lost
W/O
Points
A League
Northstars
2
2
0
0
8
Spartans
1
1
0
0
4
Black Sox
1
1
0
0
4
Twins
2
0
2
0
2
Mariners
1
0
1
0
1
Hurricanes
1
0
1
0
1

Hurricanes B v Spartans B

This is the first year the Dublin Hurricanes have entered a 'B' side. The team is captained by lorcan Sherlock, who took to his role like a veteran skipper on Sunday, making timely substitutions and keeping everyone involved in the game.

Sadly in the post game press conference Lorcan let his emotions get the better of himself and he let all the frustrations of the days double-loss to the Spartans come hurtling out verbally.





Hurricanes veteran and another Irish born, self taught pitcher Garett Pearse took the hill for the Hurricanes and got off to a fine start before falling victim to a little 'in game stress'. Lorcan sent me out to chat with him in the third innings, see how he was doing and ask him if he was okay. He replied that he was just over throwing, trying to do too much. That's Garett for you. There is a few of us sad bastards in the league who worry/think about the games a week in advance. I know I am one, and I bet Garrett would hold his hand up and admit he is one too.

He just wanted to pitch well too badly, if that's possible, and the stress got in the way of his naturally excellent stuff. It's a long season and he will be fine. Meanwhile the 'B' side acquit ed themselves very well. New, free agency signings Sean Russell and Jim Purcell looked like a good fit in the outfield while the 'B' side also fielded four, count them, four Japanese players, all part of 'A' Team skipper Tom Kelley's international scouting mission. Toshi, Daisuke, Shota and Kaz all played great and seemed to really enjoy themselves. A friendly bunch of lads, they will bring allot of colour and energy to the Hurricanes at both A and B level this season.

For the Red Sox fans on the Hurricanes (Myself, Garett and Steve Divito) it is an absolute riot to have a Japanese pitcher called Daisuke. Apart from the name, he was equally spectacular on the mound, throwing three and a bit fantastic innings absolutely dominating the Spartans B team. They couldn't touch his stuff at all. he is definitely one to watch for the coming season.

The Spartans 'B' showcased a couple of new Romanian players to add to the several they have on the 'A' team. Their pitcher, 'Mario' pitched a good complete game and would not be out of place in the 'A' league, giving the Spartans a healthy bullpen for the coming season.

Team
Played
Won
Lost
W/O
Points

B League
Spartans
1
1
0
0
4
Mariners
1
1
0
0
4
Black Sox
1
0
1
0
1
Hurricanes
1
0
1
0
1

Next week's schedule looks like this

April 21 11:00 Corkagh Park
A Level Hurricanes v Mariners

April 21 14:00 Corkagh Park
B Level Hurricanes v Mariners

April 21 11:00 Belfast
A Level North Stars v Spartans

April 22 11:00 Corkagh Park
A Level Twins v Black Sox

If you would like to get involved with Baseball Ireland at any level, Adult or Youth, or would like to support the game in Ireland, please refer to this link.

Another link of interest - the 2007 Irish League preview

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's Go Black Sox! An American Fan.

Irish National baseball team

Irish National baseball team
Team Ireland at the European Championships, Croatia, 2000.

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

A nice little mention for this blog on Fox Sports

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